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Association of psychosocial risk screening in pediatric cancer with psychosocial services provided

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Kazak, A. E.; Barakat, L. P.; Hwang, W. T.; Ditaranto, S.; Biros, D.; Beele, D.; Kersun, L.; Hocking, M. C.; Reilly, A.

OBJECTIVE: How screening for psychosocial risk in pediatric oncology may relate to the number and type of psychosocial services provided is a critical step in linking screening with treatment. We predicted that screening at diagnosis would be associated with the delivery of more psychosocial services over 8 weeks and that these services would be consistent with Universal, Targeted, or Clinical psychosocial risk level based on the Pediatric Psychosocial Preventative Health Model (PPPHM). METHODS: Parents of children newly diagnosed with cancer received either the Psychosocial Assessment Tool (PAT; n = 49) or psychosocial care as usual (PAU; n = 47), based on their date of diagnosis and an alternating monthly schedule. Medical record review and surveys completed by social workers and child life specialists were used to determine psychosocial services provided to patients and their families over the first eight weeks of treatment. RESULTS: As predicted, families in the PAT condition received more services than those in PAU based on social worker and child life specialist report and medical record review. Within the PAT group, families at the Targeted and Clinical levels of risk received more intensive services than those at the Universal level. CONCLUSIONS: This initial report shows how psychosocial risk screening may impact psychosocial care in pediatric cancer, supporting the importance of screening as well as matching services to risk level.

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